Amazon will stream NFL games to its Prime subscribers this season, which represents a new source of revenue for the NFL, but a small one: Although the precise amount of money Amazon has paid for NFL deals has been disputed, suffice to say it’s peanuts compared to what NBC, CBS, FOX, ESPN and DirecTV pay for the rights to show NFL games on traditional television.
But while online streams are a tiny fraction of the NFL’s revenues today, that won’t always be the case, according to Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Eventually, Kraft believes, over-the-top content will replace traditional television for the NFL.
“This year we’re with Amazon and for us the future is OTT,” Kraft said, via the New York Post. “We’ll be very interested to see how Amazon goes as it’s behind the paywall. The thing we have to be careful of is millennials. They don’t watch TV, they don’t have TVs or subscribe to cable. So we have to bring that audience in. Partly it’s done through fantasy games and linking to that. Over-the-top is a great opportunity.”
Kraft is probably right about that: A younger generation of fans wants to watch football on phones and on the go, not while sitting in the living room in front of the TV. The NFL needs to figure out how to keep those fans involved — and how to bring in the same kind of revenue from those fans that it brings in from traditional TV viewers.